Pro-life society responds to GOARCH March for Life speech and tweets

New York, January 28, 2022

Photo: Orthodox Christians Pro-Life Photo: Orthodox Christians Pro-Life     

Given the remarks of Archbishop Elpidophoros of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America at the national March for Life in Washington, D.C., last week and the comments retweeted by the GOARCH press office, Orthodox Christians Pro-Life issued a statement yesterday on the Orthodox Church’s stance against abortion.

The pro-life society has been holding regular prayer services outside abortion clinics in New York City for a year now. It also donates to pregnant women in need. For example, a donation was made to an Albanian family that was expecting a child, a baby carriage was bought for a pregnant women who lost almost everything in a fire, and support was provided for EMC Pregnancy Centers in New York which are having a difficult time now.

In its statement, Orthodox Christians Pro-Life expresses its support for the Orthodox Church in America, “which continues to maintain the pro-life position,” and calls for GOARCH clergy to clarify the issue.

The statement reads in full:

In view of the situation, regarding

• the ambiguous message of the Greek Orthodox Archbishop Elpidophoros to the 2022 March for Life (“At the same time, we also affirm our respect for the autonomy of women. It is they who bring forth life into the world.”),

• and the pro-choice statement supported by the GOARCH Press Office (“A hierarch who defends a woman’s right to decide for herself, even if she chooses abortion. So rare in the Church that it ends up being touching.”),

Orthodox Christians Pro-Life express their concern and declare the following:

1. Based on the Holy Scripture (For example, “Before I was born the LORD called me; from my mother’s womb he has spoken my name.” – See Isaiah 49:1; “When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb…” – See Luke 1:41) and the Holy Tradition (Canon 91 of the Quinisext Ecumenical Council [691 A.D.], decreed that people “who furnish drugs for the purpose of procuring abortion, and those who take fetus-killing poisons, they are made subject to the penalty prescribed for murderers.”), we reaffirm that abortion cannot be justified, and then the Orthodox Church can never support the pro-choice position that a mother has the right to kill her unborn child.

2. According to the words of Saint Paisios of Mt. Athos (“When a man disobeys one commandment of the Gospel, he alone is responsible. When, however, something that clashes with the commandments of the Gospel becomes the law of the land, then the wrath of God falls upon the whole nation, that it may be chastened.”), Orthodox Christians cannot support the legality of abortion. As Hieromartyr Daniel Sysoev witnessed, those who justify the legality of abortion just pretend that they are Orthodox Christians.

3. We offer our encouragement to the clergy and laity of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese who share the Orthodox teaching on this matter and call them to clarify this question on the official level to avoid such temptations in the future.

4. We express our support for the Orthodox Church in America which continues to maintain the pro-life position, according to the Orthodox Christian teaching. Likewise, we express our support for all the canonical jurisdictions in the USA when they work for protection of the unborn.

5. Based on the above, we contend that politicians who support legality of abortion don’t represent the Orthodox Church. For example, New York State senator Andrew Gounardes who continues to claim that he is an Orthodox Christian. Unless he publicly repents in supporting baby genocide, he is a disgrace to the Church. The same applies to all who voted for pro-abortion bills and continue to call themselves Orthodox.

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Ιωσήφ7/16/2023 9:33 pm
Arb. Elpidophoros has poorly worded his statement. As a member of the Greek Archdiocese of America, I can say that members of local Greek churches frankly disagree with his eminence, and affirm the teachings of the elders and church fathers that abortion is a sin. We must pray that his Eminence does not fall to the temptations of the devil who works through corruption and immortality. We as orthodox Christians must remain steadfast in the teachings of Christ and resist all else even if it has overtaken the institutions so familiar to us all. I pray for him and pray that my church remains Christian
May1/30/2022 7:45 am
I am perplexed by the message of the Orthodox Canonical Bishops and the Catholic Bishops in the US. SO there are both openly pro-woman autonomy "pro-abortion"? How could I be a pro-life and be in communion with either of them? Please help!
DavidS1/29/2022 10:30 pm
@Claes What is repugnant is anyone who considers the unborn child at any stage of life beginning at conception, to be less human and expendable. Your argument is one of utilitarianism not Orthodox Christianity. I suggest you read : An Orthodox View of Abortion, The Amicus Curiae Submitted to the Supreme Court, No. 88-605, In the Supreme Court of the United States, October Term, 1988
Seraphim 1/28/2022 10:43 pm
@Claes. These are fine words coming from someone who has already been born.I take it from your post that you do not consider "the fetus" as a complete, individual and eternal life, created by God? You are wrong to say that the words of Elpidophorus are "with respect to holy tradition" the Church has never supported the willful murder of the unborn. I think with Elpidophorus, he wanted to say something woke to please (who, the media perhaps?) and then got into a muddle. In a way theologically he is right, we all have free will - but in this case the "choice" is between murder or giving birth. To bring the Mother of God into it is close to demonic and in fact is something pro-abortionists frequently do at Pro-Life marches.
Antiochene Son1/28/2022 10:11 pm
@Ion: I don't know about Orthodox countries, but at my parish in the US, over 50% of the parish members are under age 15. Several families have more than 5 kids. Glory to God.
Antiochene Son1/28/2022 8:44 pm
@Claes. The state of pregnancy and bringing a new child into the world is a unique biological reality about what it means to be a woman. A woman who is pregnant is fulfilling her humanity in a very important way. Murdering her child makes her a monster, inhuman, and a criminal. Both the Church and the State punish crimes, and disincentivizing criminal acts through punishment is not a denial of anyone's humanity; it rather gives a framework for us to express our humanity in healthy ways. Murdering your child is not healthy and neither Church nor State are under any obligation to enable such behavior.
Antiochene Son1/28/2022 8:40 pm
@Claes. You're wrong. Abortion is defined by the Church as murder. A pregnant woman has no more right to visit an abortion clinic than you or I do to hire a hitman. As autonomous beings we do have the physical capability and free will to do these things, of course, but the punishment is damnation.
sherlock_holmes1/28/2022 8:13 pm
@ Claes I think it is hard to find someone who doesn't love her Mom. Without them, the history and the humanity would have been empty words. Why giving life to a little person dehumanizes the women ?! If someone kills us ( being his free will ) means he restores his full "personhood and the Image of God " ? What god ? The same question for archbishop Elpidophoros, what posture would he like to be in ,if any ?!
Christopher1/28/2022 7:49 pm
Hopefully this pro-abortionist anti-christian rhetoric of Elpidophoros open the eyes of those attending and serving in Greek Churches.
Ion1/28/2022 7:38 pm
Is this inclined for orthodox nations who are on top of the list of abortions and contraception and at the bottom list of having children or we have a big mouth to tell others not of the faith who usually have more babies than orthodox and fewer abortions than orthodox nations? Hope orthodox will get rid of the pride and start living orthodox Christian family life and then we can show the world the real Christian family type living life.
Claes1/28/2022 6:53 pm
Abp. Elpidophoros is correct to restate that the Church upholds and respects the rights of women who are the ones who bear children. The alternative, absolutizing the rights of the as-yet unborn at the expense of any consideration for the exigencies of the women who bear them, is repugnant to anyone of Christian sensibility. If a woman loses all rights to bodily autonomy the moment she becomes pregnant, even before she is cognizant of her pregnancy, then a zero-sum calculus of fetus-vs.- woman is arranged. The bodily autonomy of pregnant women is upheld by US law since Roe vs. Wade was decided by the Supreme Court in 1973. This decision relativizes the rights of the unborn in regards to the rights of those who bear them. This balance is in keeping with the teachings of the Church insofar as a woman s understood as a whole person bearing the Image of God, not merely a life-support system for a fertile womb. The alternative, absolute right to life of a fetus at the expense of its mother, dehumanizes pregnant women and denies them the full personhood and Image it grants the fetus, who cannot yet live outside the mother’s womb. Any effort to abolish the autonomy and full personhood of women within the Church must be opposed strenuously. I support Abp. Elpidophoros as a man who chooses his words carefully with respect to Holy Tradition and the Church’s understanding of personhood in the Divine Image.
Kathy Tetlak1/28/2022 5:05 pm
As a Greek Orthodox convert, the Archbishop's comments have prompted me to look into changing jurisdictions.
Alex1/28/2022 3:37 pm
What a 'winner' that Elpidophoros is. Not.
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